The ICC recently held a meeting in Durban in South Africa and in that meeting a lot of decisions were taken but the most important or the most significant as far as global cricket goes is the one where the ICC decided that both the men and the women will get equal prize money in ICC events going forward. This is truly a historical decision and the ICC should be commended for this. The Grand Slams in Tennis have already taken this decision so it is good to see cricket following their lead.
Let’s talk about the context of why this decision is so historic and look at the way forward.
Equality Is the Most Important
The ICC had set a Target of 2030 as to when the equal prize money distribution will be achieved but they did it 7 years ago and this shows that if the members have the will and the conviction to take Landmark decisions then nothing can stop the women’s game from growing even more. And the ICC has been working since 2017 to reach this point today. Since 2017, the prize money for women's ICC events has been increasing on a regular basis every year and it has grown from 50 lakhs to 3.5 crores so a 7 time increase. These gradual growths were crucial because the visibility of the women’s game was increasing day by day and the ICC had to be with the times.
For the latest comparison the 2019 ICC ODI World Cup had a prize money of 28 4 crores for the winner which was England and for the runners up the prize money was 14.2 crores which the New Zealand team took home. However, the 2027 Women’s ODI World Cup had a prize money of 12.30 crores for the winner which was lesser than the runner up from the Men’s World Cup. And in the recently concluded T20I Women’s World Cup in 2023 , the winners got $1 million and the runners up got $500,000 which was a 5 times increment from the 2018 edition so the proof is there that the ICC was working towards this historic decision.
And the prize money for the ICC Women’s World Cup which was held in 2022 was increased to $3.5 million from $2 million from the previous edition in 2017 so almost a 75% increase was seen in the prize money. And from now on the prize money for the women’s ICC events will increase multifold because the men get a lot more and the women will also get 30 crores for the ICC ODI World Cup and this is the latest in a series of game changing decisions that have been taken by the cricket administrators. The BCCI announced pay parity meaning the men and the women will get equal payment for Test Matches, ODIs as well as T20IS and that was a celebrated decision. The WPL has become the biggest game changer as the women now get to earn a lot more money and the players who did not have a chance to play for India, will also get a chance to make a financial living.